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Conversation Center
Group Conversation

Conversation Center

Building an Inclusive Iowa 

One Conversation at a Time

The UI Conversation Center works to build informal and intercultrual communication skills at the University of Iowa. Our program is unique as our undergraduate conversation partners are trained in a 3-credit service-learning course RHET 2090: Conversation Practicum (available to Confident English-Speaking Domestic and International Students). These partners host dedicated one-on-one appointments (currently fully online), as well as embedding directly into ESL courses (including Iowa, high schools, and international universities in the near future--contact Director Ben Hassman for more information). Our programming includes:

  • One-on-one Appointment Program with trained conversation partners (see how to book below!) 
  • Our innovative ESL Embedding Program 
  • Collaborations beyond the University including our Community Conversation, working with local non-profits like MERGE (part of ICAD) and Friendship Community Project (teaching ESL) to support acculturation and linguistic skills & confidence amongst adult immigrant and refugees in the Iowa City community

How to Make a Conversation Appointment

FALL 2021 Locations: As of September we'll partially resume in-person conversations (please mask!) in the UI Main LIbrary, as well as continuing to hold conversations online.

Click the "Make an Appointment" button at the top right of this page (in the new tab make sure Conversation Center is chosen from the drop-down menu). You may reserve a maximum of 5 hours each week (either 1/2-hour or hour). Appointments are reserved on-line on a first-come, first-served basis, and we welcome anyone associated with the University, including undergrad and grad students, faculty, staff, and family members. For more help, check out these helpful PDFs on booking:

Booking Appointment Instructions PDF

Booking Repeating Appointment Instructions

Find Your Appointment

Conversations are held in the UI Main Library (see map below) and other student-friendly locations on an arranged basis. For an an online appointment, please return to the scheduler 5 minutes or so before your appointment, click on the appointment box, and then click "Start or Join Online Consultation".

Main Library Map indicating location of the Conversation Center's in-person appointment meeting place (in the Cafe seating against the west wall near Group Area C and the Service Desk)



Co-Director Benjamin Hassman, PhD:

Co-Director Sonja Mayrhofer, PhD: